Why We Give – Brad ’88 and Danielle (Benson) Woodward ’88

Why we give to the College and encourage others to give.

  • “We wouldn’t be where we are today if not for KWC. It’s hard to imagine where we would be had we not had the influences, experiences, etc. Our professors genuinely cared about us. They didn’t forget us after graduation, either. It was more than just a school for us. We literally became part of the Wesleyan family.”
  • “It’s had a huge impact on us as Methodists. (We belong to Settle Memorial United Methodist Church). Several of our ministers over the years graduated from KWC. Dr. Jim Thurmond ’54. Rev. Keith Switzer ’79, Dr. Howard Willen ’60, Rev. John Bowling ’88, Rev. Mark Dickinson ’89, Rev. Tom Grieb ’78 and Rev. Todd Love ’76. Their impact on our lives has been immeasurable.”
  • “KWC is a family tradition. Brad’s brother (Kyle ’91) met his wife (Molly Shaw ’93) here. Our niece (Brittany Woodward ’20) graduated from here. Brad’s father (Bruce) audited classes here after he retired because he just loved learning. Brad’s parents (Bruce & Jackie Woodward – now deceased) were basketball season ticket holders for decades. Brad’s parents saw all eight national championships.”
  • “We personally gained a lot from the liberal arts environment. Not only did we become very well rounded, but we learned how to critically think here. That’s something we hold very dear.”
  • “For most of our lives, we’ve lived within two miles of the college. It is part of our community. Part of our neighborhood. We’ve walked here for years because it’s still home to us.”
  • “KWC has always stood as a beacon to Owensboro in the way it shines on Frederica Street. You can’t drive through Owensboro without seeing the beautiful campus.”
  • “KWC has always been part of our community.
    • Brad participated in different KWC-sponsored events while still in high school (which is what led him to KWC in the first place): Pep Band, DJ for WKWC, math and science leagues.
    • Danielle remembers flying kites as a youth on the front lawn.
    • We’ve attended multiple different events on the front lawn including the annual OSO Concert on the Lawn, Earth Day, car shows, etc.”
  • “To be honest, we used to not give. But now we’re now in our 50s and have come to realize how much KWC has meant to us. We literally had a paradigm shift in our thinking. Yes, we paid our tuition. But well beyond that, KWC continues to give to us. This institution – its people –changed our lives in priceless ways. We want today and tomorrow’s students to experience what we’ve experienced. We want them to know the Wesleyan Way and to become part of the Wesleyan family for a lifetime.”

How we met
“We vaguely knew each other prior to attending KWC through mutual high school friends. We grew up 13 houses apart in Owensboro, but because Tamarack Road separated our houses, Brad went to county schools (Apollo High School) and I went to city schools (Owensboro High School).

“Though we talked briefly during KWC freshman orientation week, we didn’t start dating until New Year’s Eve our sophomore year. (We’d run into each other in the library quite a lot. We were both nerds. The library is really where we got to know each other). We married exactly two weeks after we graduated from KWC.”

Great memories of KWC

  • Great liberal arts professors not only encouraged us to think critically, but who cared about us, gave us wonderful advice and maintained friendships with us after graduation. To name a few: Dr. Bob Darrell (English), Margaret (Sociology) and Joe Britton (English), Dr. Richard Weiss (Foreign language; archivist), Dr. Art Chesler (Economics), Dr. Tom Rogers (Philosophy), Dr. Oscar Schinkel (Sociology), Dr. Mike Fagan (Psychology).
  • Religion had fabulous professors – Sorry that we arrived after Dr. Beavin retired (we would have loved to learn from him), but we feel fortunate to have had Drs. Sandefur, Beck and Metz.
  • The sciences had great professors including Drs. Magnuson and Purdom.
  • Great staff including President Luther White, Registrar Gus Paris, Chaplain Billy Davis, Deacon Hall Head Resident Billy Fields, A/V tech Billy Graham, and KWC legend Roy Pickerill ’75.

Great experiences as students

  • Brad and Danielle: 1987 National Championship (and we’re still season ticket holders)
  • Brad: 1985 Final Four – This was before I (Danielle) joined the Pep Band, but Brad was already a member. He got to ride the bus up to Springfield, Mass., to play in the Pep Band for the team.
  • Brad and Danielle: Chapel was great to attend (but back then it was held on Thursdays).
  • Brad: Chaplain Davis had been living in Africa as a missionary prior to coming to KWC as chaplain. He had been a bush pilot, and he took Brad and another classmate flying over Owensboro in his small plane.
  • Brad: Being a disc jockey and playing contemporary Christian music for WKWC 90.3.
  • Brad: Serving as chaplain and recorder for Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity
  • Brad and Danielle: We both wrote for the Panogram, which was an actual print newspaper. We helped produce the paper down in the basement of Massie Hall. Brad was the movie critic, so we took special pride in going to movies just about every week.
  • Brad: Great times serving as SGA senator
  • Brad and Danielle: Participating in United Methodist Student Union (UMSF) and Baptist Student Union (BSU). Special shout out to Pastor Tim Bell and our friends from these groups
  • Brad and Danielle: Brad being inducted into The Order of Oak and Ivy
  • Brad and Danielle: Playing in KWC Pep Band (and Brad, in Jazz Band and other band activities)
  • Brad and Danielle: Old South Ball at Windridge Country Club and then later the old Darnek Club
  • Brad and Danielle: Participating in various other clubs and activities
  • Brad and Danielle: Field trips to Padanaram, Branchville Correctional Facility, the Hermitage, UMSF Weekend Retreat at Rough River State Park
  • Brad and Danielle: Riding the Panther Express to ball games. (We were the youngest people on the bus.)
  • Danielle: “After I started a new job and needed help on statistics, a professor I never even had was willing to meet with me on a Saturday morning to help me on some statistical projects I had to do for my job (and I’m ashamed I can’t remember his name but I was forever thankful). (Sidebar: Though Dr. Sally Asefa hadn’t arrived at KWC yet in the 80s when we were students, I did have a chance to study statistics under her later. She was absolutely fantastic and made statistics really come to life. KWC was truly blessed to have her in Business Administration).”
  • Brad and Danielle: “After we both graduated, we house-sat several times for Dr. Bob Darrell to care for his animals. Dr. Darrell was there for us for YEARS after we graduated, helping us with a variety of projects, and just being a great friend to us. Sidebar: I (Danielle) also had Nelda (Peeples) Darrell (President Bart Darrell’s mother) for first grade, and she was fantastic; we also knew her through our church.”
  • Danielle: “Prior to even attending KWC, I was friends with Gus Paris’s daughter in school from first grade on up to 12th I remember him taking us camping at Santa Claus Land and roasting marshmallows over an open fire and holding Easter Egg hunts for us in his yard. For high school prom, he fixed a bunch of us breakfast at 3 a.m. He was just an all-around great human being.”
  • Danielle: “Working for Rebecca Rightmyer in Development. My assignment was to type up the Daily Bulletin (our print version of email/text/social media) for the News & Information Department. My work area was located in the basement on the north end of the Administration Building.”
  • Brad and Danielle: “Prior to eharmony and Match.com, one of the groups on campus (not sure which one) built a dating matchmaker program for a fundraiser. We hear it was actually pretty accurate, but we didn’t need it, of course.”
  • Other memories:
    • Massie was a physical bookstore, mailroom, Plus Center, rec area, nurse’s station, and Panogram print shop.
    • We saw the Woodward Health and Recreation Center groundbreaking and watched it being built.
    • The old President’s home and Administration 4th floor music rooms (pre-tornado).
    • There was no fountain.
    • There was a road where the Winchester Center now stands.
    • Faculty parking was immediately adjacent to the Faculty Office Building (where Winchester is now). You could always tell which professors were on campus by looking for their cars. Almost 100% of faculty offices were in the FOB.
    • All classes were held in Administration.
    • The Ralph Center was then the old Owensboro Museum.
    • The new science building and parking lot weren’t here yet.
    • The CETL (Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning) location was a photography classroom and dark room (and when they got the very first and very expensive Macintosh computer we were blown away at the technology).
    • There was no computer lab.
    • We had a small television studio near the north entrance of the library.
    • We had no study rooms like there are now in the library and throughout the Administration Building.
    • The Panogram was an actual print newspaper.
    • We had an actual print yearbook (the Porphyrian).
    • We entered the library/cafeteria from the north end.
    • The cafeteria’s storage room was the old Gold Room. The Cafeteria was called SAGA.
    • During heavy rains, the front lawn and area around the ball fields literally turned into a lake because the city hadn’t yet implemented its $65 million drainage plan (and I do mean literally because we would find dead fish from people’s nearby goldfish ponds after the waters receded).
    • We still used typewriters for our term papers because there were no computers or word processors.
    • We physically had to locate articles, books, etc. for research via print journals and Dewey Decimal card catalogs. We also still used microfiche and microfilm. Some of the old machines from our time are still in the library.

Thank you, Brad and Danielle, for sharing your memories and thoughts on why Kentucky Wesleyan is so important to you. We appreciate your loyalty!